Innanetape By Vic Mensa
by Carter Merenstein on October 27, 2013
Posted in: Album Review, Hip Hop, Music
(Artist: Vic Mensa; Album: Innanetape; Released: 30, September 2013; Grade: B+)
You might know him from the (now defunct) band Kids These Days, you might know him from his verse on Cocoa Butter Kisses off of Acid Rap and you might not know him at all, but soon enough you’ll know Vic Mensa for what he really is: a talented young rapper who doesn’t need to stand behind a band or his more famous friends. And, the Innanetape is where it all begins.
This time last year, Vic Mensa was the frontman of a hip hop/indie rock band, and besides a few features for tracks by other Save Money artists (most noticeably Chance) hadn’t put out much mainstream rap. When the band broke up this past May, Vic doubled down on his commitment to the rap game. He toured with J Cole and Wale and started dropping singles and videos, rebuilding his career from the ground up. He released Orange Soda last spring along with a music video, featuring him goofing about with some of his Save Money friends after drinking, and vaping, some orange soda. Next came YNSP, which stands for “Yung Net Save Paso,” Yung Net being Vic’s other name (who knows why) and Save Paso being the Spanglish name for his crew. Both of these leading singles were solid high energy tracks, but they fall far short compared to the depth of the rest of the album
The full 14 song mixtape dropped last month on datpiff.com and is worth being heard in its entirety. Beyond hyped up straight hip hop tracks like Tweakin’ (Ft. Chance the Rapper), YNSP and Orange Soda, there’s a whole album of solid music. The album gets progressively more serious as it get on, starting at the track Time Is Money, based on words of advice from his father. When the tape gets to , Vic confronts his new fame, cleverly claiming it should have come sooner by opening with a skit of his manager calling to yell at him for being late for his flight to LA (get it? yeah…).
As great as the tape is up to this point (track 9, if it matters to you), Vic really cements himself with the last five songs. Holy Holy (Ft. Ab-Soul and BJ The Chicago Kid) is a dark and sentimental tribute to friends and family lost, with a verse by Ab-Soul rapping about his girlfriend who died last year. The hook ponders the question If the world ends tomorrow, would you smoke with me? as Vic wonders how many people really care about him and if anyone will remember him when he dies. This concern is continued into the next song, Fear and Doubt (Ft. Kenna and Joey Purp), which opens with the lines Questionin’ what is my life to become? / I wonder if I’ll ever be the man, my momma wish I was / Or will I end up victim to the hand of a gun?
Despite all this worrying, however, Vic doesn’t ever come up with any answers, which becomes clear in the next two songs. Yap Yap is his first attempt to shrug off these fears, by touting his artillery and making sure he is never caught defenseless. Ultimately though, this isn’t a gangster rap album and he knows that it isn’t a mentality that he can live with. Instead, the tape comes to a safer conclusion: RUN!
In this way, the last few songs of the mixtape is almost a more subtle version of good kid, m.A.A.d city – Vic faces the bleak realities of the south side of Chicago, resists the violence, and makes it out through his rapping. Like Kendrick, Vic also ends the album with a new identity. He isn’t just a member of Kids These Days and he isn’t just Chance’s friend; he’s made it on his own, and now he’s just “That Nigga”